And in the middle of the seven candlesticks one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot…
I. John mentions THE DAY ON WHICH THIS VISION OCCURRED: "the Lord's Day." The loss of the Sabbath was felt by John in Patmos. Our pleasures brighten as they take their flight. This is particularly the case with the experience of Christians in relation to the Sabbath.
II. The apostle alludes to his FRAME OF MIND at the time this vision was given him: "I was in the Spirit." The blessing of God comes in the use of His appointed means; and supernatural communications begin where the highest effort of ordinary grace ends. God honoured His Sabbath, and He honoured the prayerful endeavours of His servant, by His revelations at that time. There is a spirit of the Sabbath which all believers should seek to attain, and which, when cultivated to the utmost, will bring them well nigh to the borders of inspiration, and to the gate of heaven.
III. We come to the FIRST SUPERNATURAL SIGN. "And heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet, saying," or as of a speaking-trumpet, the epithet "saying" agreeing not with the "voice," but with the "trumpet." Such an instrument was much in use amongst the ancients. It was employed by generals to give orders to their armies. The brazen lungs of Stentor, mentioned by Homer, in the wars of Troy, were probably of this kind. Hence the "voice of a trumpet" is used in Scripture for a loud and authoritative word of command.
IV. THE LANGUAGE HE HEARS. How important it is to note clown impressions as they occur! How needful, for correct preservation, to record them at once! Our memories are treacherous. New scenes arise to obscure the deepest impressions in our minds.
V. THE VISION HE BEHOLDS. "And I turned to see the voice that spake with me." The true reason why natural beauty and tasteful proportions are disregarded in the image before us is, that it is solely of a hieroglyphical character. Hieroglyphics have no pretension to beauty. Symmetry is the last quality that is studied in their construction. In conformity with this method of instruction, we have the image assumed by Christ in vision to John, with this difference, that it is given only as a heiroglyphical representation, and not as a delineation of His real form. The value of hieroglyphics lies in their meaning, and their beauty in their design. What beauty could our first parents see in the imagery by which their restoration was promised, apart from the design? What beauty was there in the serpent of brass, in the altar of burnt offering, in the figures of the cherubim, in themselves considered? What glory is there in the Cross, apart from its design? What beauty in a Lamb as it had been slain, even in the midst of the throne? What is there to gratify the eye, the ear, or the taste, in the only relics of a symbolical ritual, in baptism and the Lord's Supper? We have here the utmost simplicity of emblems combined with the highest grandeur of design. Visible signs are employed to lead to the contemplation of invisible realities. Under these impressions, we turn again to the vision before us. We expect now no external loveliness and attractions, and are prepared to look for its whole beauty in the moral sentiments it inspires. His appearance, as when known to John in the flesh, would have been equally incompatible with the purpose and the time. He assumes the very figure the occasion required. It was modelled by the revelations He came to unfold. It was not His natural dress, but His adornment for a particular interview; not His home attire, but His equipment for a special expedition. It is not the beau ideal of the Christian's God, but the symbolical representation of the means by which His kingdom would be established in the whole earth. If the whole aspect had been mild and alluring, it would have given a false impression to John of what it was intended to prefigure and the purpose for which it was assumed. It revealed the combination of those perfections in Christ which would be required; the resources at His command, His unslumbering zeal, His terror in battle, the certainty of His conquest, the serenity of His government, and the glory of His reign. The high priest's breast-plate is associated with the warrior's coat of mail, the snow-white locks of age with the sparkling eye of youth, unconquerable prowess with melting pity, the awfulness of justice with the endearments of love, the thunder of His arm with the radiance of His smiles.
Parallel VersesKJV: And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.